Manama: Russia said on Monday that it would lower its diplomatic relations with Qatar following an incident involving the Russian ambassador at Doha International Airport.
The Russian foreign ministry announced in a statement that Vladimir Titorenky was assaulted by security and customs officials upon his arrival at the Doha airport on November 29, on a return trip from Jordan, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported from Moscow.
According to RIA Novosti, the Russian news agency, the Qatari officials reportedly tried to X-ray the diplomatic mail despite a bilateral agreement allowing diplomats from both countries to carry diplomatic bags through customs without any inspection under the 1961 Vienna Convention.
Moscow warned Doha in a protest note of the consequences that would result from this incident on bilateral relations, describing the “attack” on the Russian diplomat as “unprecedented and constitutes a gross violation of rules of international law”.
]The statement called for an official apology from Qatar and demanded “an immediate and full investigation into the incident, the strict punishment of the culprits and the prevention of similar incidents in the future”.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, to inform him about Moscow’s decision to reduce the level of diplomatic relations until Doha meets the Russian demands.
The Russian envoy is scheduled to leave Qatar in “a couple of days to seek treatment”.
Media reports said that the incident may affect agreements signed by Moscow and Doha in November within the framework of the forum of gas-exporting states.